Tcl implemented in hardware?

This is a rather strange item. I was checking out comp.arch.fpga
(newsgroup dedicated to subjects dealing with using FPGAs[Field
Programmable Gate Arrays] for computing) and saw a post that pointed to
this link:

http://www.gmvhdl.com/acrodesign/research.html#tob

They’ve apparently implemented a Tcl interpreter in hardware.
Does Tcl have a virtual machine (I didn’t think it did)? Perhaps they’ve
implemented a Tcl virtual machine in hardware (I suppose it would be
called a ‘real’ machine then since it wouldn’t be ‘virtual’ anymore).

Ruby in hardware anyone? That could speed things up quite a bit. Or how
about Parrot in hardware?

Phil

[snip]

They’ve apparently implemented a Tcl interpreter in hardware.
Does Tcl have a virtual machine (I didn’t think it did)? Perhaps they’ve
implemented a Tcl virtual machine in hardware (I suppose it would be
called a ‘real’ machine then since it wouldn’t be ‘virtual’ anymore).

Ruby in hardware anyone? That could speed things up quite a bit. Or how
about Parrot in hardware?

Phil

Hardware VMs for Lisp were basically put out of business by faster general purpose workstations.

Modern JIT VMs can be plenty efficient and stable. A coworker of mine implemented some symmetric block ciphers in VisualWorks Smalltalk. The result was 3% faster than RSA Security’s reference DLLs implemented in C.

Why? Memory management. A good generational Garbage Collector with well optimized parameters is like having a Buffer Cache for free. You avoid overhead from malloc() and free() by having the program pre-allocate and recycle memory. Only, with GC, there is no programmer effort involved.

[Warning, some Preaching to the Choir below]

We have been at the point for some years now where raw processor speed is more than enough for VMs to do just fine with most applications. Profile. Optimize. Run with good GC. (Does Python still use reference counts?) Be smart about memory management. (Frivolous Object creation.)

Ruby on the VisualWorks VM anyone? (Seriously, this could be a dandy project. VisualWorks VM is one of the best VMs out there, bar none.)

Peter Kwangjun Suk

···

On Thu, 3 Oct 2002 02:23:00 +0900 ptkwt@shell1.aracnet.com (Phil Tomson) wrote:

“Phil Tomson” ptkwt@shell1.aracnet.com wrote in message
news:anf8491ct1@enews3.newsguy.com

This is a rather strange item. I was checking out comp.arch.fpga
(newsgroup dedicated to subjects dealing with using FPGAs[Field
Programmable Gate Arrays] for computing) and saw a post that pointed to
this link:

FPGA is just another kind of software and 36MHz is not really impressive
compared to 2GHz Pentiums and I’m sure each TCL primitive uses a fair number
of cycles. Still, it’s useful for embedded systems where an software
interpreter would take up too many resources.

Mikkel

They have a bytecode VM since 1997.

···

On 2 Oct 2002 16:50:17 GMT, ptkwt@shell1.aracnet.com (Phil Tomson) wrote:

They’ve apparently implemented a Tcl interpreter in hardware.
Does Tcl have a virtual machine (I didn’t think it did)? Perhaps they’ve

FPGA is just another kind of software and 36MHz is not really impressive
compared to 2GHz Pentiums and I’m sure each TCL primitive uses a fair
number of cycles. Still, it’s useful for embedded systems where an software
interpreter would take up too many resources.

The beauty of FPGAs is the beauty of hardware, namely parallelism,
which might be a lot of speed so only comparing MHz might not tell
all there is to say to the real speed.

Of course you pay a lot for being able to take advantage of that.

People are trying to get higher description languages to map directly
into FPGAs. Handel-C is a C-like dialect with parallel programming
extensions that can be compiled into FPGAs (netlist).

The 2nd beauty of FPGAs is that they chan change their gates on the fly.
A bit like loading different software.

Certainly FPGAs are not yet there into mainstream, but e.g. for
hardware-testing quite popular.
Companies like Celoxica http://www.celoxica.com/

Bye,
-A.

···

Armin Roehrl, http://www.approximity.com
Training, Development and Mentoring
OOP, XP, Java, Ruby, Smalltalk, .Net, Datamining, Parallel computing,
Webservices

I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas.
I’m frightened of the old ones.
– John Cage

Hello Peter,

Wednesday, October 02, 2002, 11:01:35 PM, you wrote:

Ruby on the VisualWorks VM anyone? (Seriously, this could be a dandy project. VisualWorks VM is one of the best VMs out there, bar none.)

what is the VisualWorks?

···


Best regards,
Bulat mailto:bulatz@integ.ru

Smalltalk from Cincom

···

On Thursday 03 October 2002 5:02 am, Bulat Ziganshin wrote:

Hello Peter,

Wednesday, October 02, 2002, 11:01:35 PM, you wrote:

Ruby on the VisualWorks VM anyone? (Seriously, this could be a dandy
project. VisualWorks VM is one of the best VMs out there, bar none.)

what is the VisualWorks?


Best essay I’ve read in years: